Sildenafil test: changes in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of erectile dysfunction

Int Urol Nephrol. 2001;33(2):387-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1015278132612.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of sildenafil as a first-step diagnostic and therapeutic tool for erectile dysfunction (ED) and to evaluate the consequent changes in the management of male sexual insufficiency.

Materials and methods: Sildenafil in titrating doses up to 100 mg was prescribed to 50 men presenting to a sexual dysfunction clinic with medically documented ED. They had not undergone any specific diagnostic test before starting sildenafil.

Results: Of the 50 men, 24 (48%) responded to sildenafil. Of these, 8 (33.3%) responded to 50 mg and 16 (66.7%) to 100 mg of sildenafil. Of the responders, 9 representing 18% of all studied men were discharged achieving spontaneous erections in a mean follow-up of 5.3 months. Men with no medical history, men with hypertension and men with mild coronary artery disease responded better.

Conclusions: The sildenafil test revealed that 48% of men responded to this therapy with no requirement for more invasive tests and that 18% of men required no further treatment at all. In addition this test reduced the overall cost of the diagnostic investigation. It is proposed that the sildenafil test should be used in cases with no significant medical history or in men with hypertension or mild coronary artery disease although almost all men with ED could be categorized as sildenafil-responders or sildenafil-resistant. It is also suggested that the sildenafil test would result in the ability for more men with ED to be managed exclusively in the primary care sector.

MeSH terms

  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Piperazines* / therapeutic use
  • Purines
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate